ISRO today released the first pictures of Chandrayaan-2, India’s second mission to the moon and have scheduled July 15 as the launch date. ISRO’s Chief K Sivan announced that launch would take place at 2:51 am on 15th July from Sriharikota. Earlier ISRO had kept a launch window from July 9 to July 16 open for the launch.
— Republic (@republic) June 12, 2019
The Chandrayaan-2 would comprise of three parts namely: the Orbiter, the Lander (Vikram) and the Rover (Pragyan). The Rover would be housed within the Lander. The Orbiter and the Lander would be an integrated module weighing about 3.8 tonnes. This module would be launched using a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV MK III) designed to launch satellites into geostationary orbit.
Once launched the integrated module would propel towards the moon after which the Lander will detach and land on the South Pole on 6th September as per schedule. The Rover would then conduct experiments on the lunar surface.
Earlier this month ISRO tweeted the challenges of the Moon landing procedure.
— ISRO (@isro) June 3, 2019
The agency had also released the first pictures of the Chandrayaan-2 mission today.
Pictures of the modules of India’s second lunar mission Chandrayaan-2 that is scheduled to be launched between July 9 and 16. pic.twitter.com/9wLXQruJWX
— ANI (@ANI) June 12, 2019
Reportedly, the Chandrayaan-2 mission would cost Rs 603 crore while the GSLV MK III would cost Rs 375 crore. There are also reports that the mission would carry several foreign payloads as well, including that of NASA.
Talking about the mission, ISRO Chairman K Sivan said: “The 15 minute operation that will see the Lander (Vikram) make the final descent will be the most terrifying moments for the agency as it has never attempted such a complex mission.”
Once launched by the GSLV rocket, the composite structure—Orbiter, Lander and Rover together—will use five orbit raising manoeuvres over 16 days. “The propulsion systems of the orbiter will be used for manoeuvres. Then we will have the translunar burns to take the composite structure closer to the Moon. After this the spacecraft will cover 3.5 lakh-km and travel there for five days,” Sivan said.
The Chandrayaan-1 mission which was launched 10 years ago was credited for the discovery of water on the lunar surface.
ISRO recently signed an MoU with the Indian Air Force (IAF) to select and train astronauts for India’s first manned mission, the Gaganyaan project. An all-weather earth observation spy satellite RISAT-2B was launched greatly boosting the country’s space capability.